Decision Making for People Pleasers

I just recently made a good decision. For me it was a good decision. I am not sure how others dealt with my decision, but I do know that I felt so many things as I was making it that I wasn’t sure I would actually make it.

My decision was to take a day off work. I decided it was best for me. And for my clients. Not sure they felt the same way, but nonetheless, I didn’t go to work one day. 

Making that decision was more challenging that I imagined.


Because I am generally a people pleaser and a bit of a workaholic. My typical play in life is to make sure there is little to no conflict with the people whom I interact. Rating other’s needs above my own has been a survival strategy, but one that hasn’t yielded a consistent satisfying outcome…for me. 

This decision came with lots of doubt, as decisions do. My doubt was whether I could communicate my need to others and stick to it. These are the quintessential issues with decision making. 

Assessing all the factors involved

Feeling the uncomfortable emotions 

Communicating the decision

Living with the outcome

For someone that likes to make sure the world is happy with them and who orchestrates scenarios where the world seems to support them, decisions are quite difficult. Making one means you are choosing one thing over another. You are leaving an option sitting on the proverbial table and walking away potentially never to be given that as an option again. It also means you are stepping into something that you have NO idea whether it will work or not. You might lose money, time, favor, etc.

That takes some trust in yourself.

Some self-knowledge. 

Shall I even say, some balls. Hutzpah. Courage. 

I made my decision to take a day off of work because I looked ahead, and I forecasted what I would need. I wrestled with the need for days. Consulted with others and sat with their suggestions. But I KNEW what would happen if I overrode my decision to take the day away from the office…I would not be as effective with my clients. I wouldn’t harm them per se, but I wouldn’t meet the standard of care I believe is needed to do good work. 

My workaholic part wanted me to believe that was bullshit. It told me to “suck it up and go do your job!”. I couldn’t follow its line of thinking though. And thankfully, that was a first. 

This might not seem like a big deal to you all. But it was freaking huge for me. I wasn’t sick or traveling or on a national holiday. I just knew I would need some downtime to recuperate from a long training weekend. 

I KNEW this information. 

It was CLEAR to me. 

I had ignored it before, and I had INFORMATION about how that decision played out and I just couldn’t make a bad decision again. 

So, how do we KNOW? 

            We don’t know a lot of the time. We can’t know everything obviously. Even with our friend Google. We can’t know if the house we book on Air BnB will be a dump or not. Yes, we are EXPECTING it to be what is on the listing, but we won’t know until we know. We can PREPARE as best as any human can, but we still have to take the leap and find out for ourselves. 

How do we get CLEAR on what is right for us?

            We consult our gut. We gotta get out of our head and feel our intuition. This means we need to sit with things and not react. (Of course, certain circumstances rely on us making immediate emergency type decisions. Not what I am talking about here.) Our bodies will actually tell us when something fits or not. There is a tightening and a pulling away if it doesn’t fit. A holding on and a freezing of action. Not all of us are proficient in body speak. Talking about it can help us hear ourselves and our bodies will be right along for the ride feeling what our minds are thinking and our mouths are saying. 

            We consult our values. What is important. Yes, the hot tub might be on the fritz once we get to the rental property. And we were expecting this time away to check all the boxes. But if we truly value family time, connectionand nature, then we can work through the feelings of disappointment. Values offer us cornerstones in our lives. What we prize above all other material things. Its helpful to know what we value and relax back into those when things don’t go according to plan.  

How do you deal with the feelings of uncertainty? 

            Ah man. This is the kicker. Here’s the truth though. Uncertainty is woven into everything we do. No one wants to take that as a reality. Let’s try to make it a little more palatable. If we break it down into pieces, uncertainty is a conglomerate of feelings that are hard to feel. Fear of being wrong or losing something (money, a relationship, security), future regret that we missed out on the other option(s) we had and it could have been better, sadness that comes with the loss of picking one thing over another, and anxiety from having to step into unpredictability. 

Trusting ourselves is the antidote to uncertainty. Intuition and values help to know ourselves first. Trusting what we know takes practice. We can practice with small things to begin with. Using our mental and emotional powers of reflection to review choices and see what came of them. Collect data to reference for future decisions. 

Some decisions are huge and the feelings and information can cloud our intuition and our mental ability to sort through. Honestly, that is when we need to talk with someone. Doesn’t have to be a therapist. But we need to process out loud. We need guidance, empathy, and time to process. But remember, we make literally 1000s of decisions a day. We are good at making decisions. It’s the ones that come with too many feelings that paralyze us. Learning to work with our feelings creates trust in ourselves. If we are less concerned with what we might feel regarding an outcome, then we can move more smoothly in the world of decision making. 

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